Vietnam Proves China Succeeds in Making ASEAN Retract Call for Respect of Hague Ruling

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh speaks to the media at a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Kham

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh speaks to the media at a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Kham

In my post “China Makes ASEAN Refrain from Asking It to Respect Arbitration Award” on June 16, I said, “ASEAN’s attitude towards the ruling of Hague arbitration initiated by the Philippines is very important. If ASEAN does not support US demand that China respects the arbitration ruling, US and Western countries’ demand becomes groundless as they are outsiders without a say unless ASEAN in the South China Sea has raised such a demand.”

The declaration of ASEAN-U.S. Special Leaders’ Summit at Sunnylands in mid-February says that ASEAN and US leaders “(s)hared commitment to peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes (this blogger’s emphasis)”, which certainly includes full respect of Hague arbitration ruling.

That is why Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a meeting in mid-June with his ASEAN counterparts in China to try to persuade them to retract their support for US demand.

ASEAN issued and then retracted its statement after its meeting with Wang to please China. That makes me believe that Wang has succeeded in making ASEAN retract their support for US demand for full respect of Hague arbitration ruling.

Reuters’ report today titled “Vietnam urges ‘fair’ ruling from court handling South China Sea case Today” on Vietnam’s stance on the ruling proves my speculation. Reuters says, “Vietnam’s statement stopped short of calling for the ruling to be respected” though Vietnam will be the major ASEAN member to be benefited by the ruling. Obviously, Vietnam does not want to retract from ASEAN’s consensus on retracting its support for US demand that it has reached in its diplomats’ recent meeting with their Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Without ASEAN’s support for US demand for full respect of the ruling, China will not have much trouble if the ruling is unfavorable to China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which can be viewed below:

Vietnam urges ‘fair’ ruling from court handling South China Sea case

Vietnam has called for an international tribunal in The Hague to deliver a “fair and objective” ruling in an arbitration case lodged by the Philippines that challenges China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.

In a carefully worded statement two days after the court announced July 12 as the verdict date, Vietnam’s foreign ministry said it hoped the ruling would provide a basis for peacefully resolving rows.

Vietnam is not a direct party to the case but stands to gain if the verdict favors Manila. Like the Philippines, it is also at odds with China, although it is wary not to push too far against a major trade partner.

“Vietnam has always been observing the development of the case and wants the arbitration court to deliver a fair and objective decision, creating a basis to peacefully resolve disputes in the (South China Sea),” Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, said in a statement late on Friday.

Though the wording was similar to those used by numerous countries, Vietnam’s statement stopped short of calling for the ruling to be respected.

China has gone to great efforts to show the Permanent Court of Arbitration has no jurisdiction on the case, and Beijing will therefore not recognize it. China’s official Xinhua news agency called it a “law-abusing tribunal”.

The case seeks an interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which Beijing is a signatory.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s most vital shipping lanes, with about $5 trillion of goods passing annually through waters contested in parts by six countries, several of which are undergoing military buildups.

(Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Martin Petty)


4 Comments on “Vietnam Proves China Succeeds in Making ASEAN Retract Call for Respect of Hague Ruling”

  1. Simon says:

    America fears Iran because the Iranian dares to detain American sailors who sailed into its territorial waters, got them to reveal sensitive data and put them on TV to embarrass America. China which is more powerful than Iran should start doing the same and detain American sailors who tresspass into Chinese waters, forced classified information and parade them on TV and only release them if they apologise and exchange their release for American concession.


  2. Steve says:

    Vietnam of All Asian nations, should realise by now that the US rhetoric is an act of sabotage to prevent any peaceful negotiations between China and the SCS littoral states. The US are Masters in the art of being a hypocritical rattler, as long as any form of illegality are self benefitting. Vietnam, the victim of US hypocrisy remembers too well when the rattler, sneaks and snakes invaded and slaughtered in a genocidal massacre of over 3,000,000 Vietnamese men, women, children and babies. Similar genocide exist in the middle east, on the pretext of lies and deceit.

    The US, an outlaw and outsider has no claims to the SCS and yet perform FONOPs. The Nansha islands and Xisha Islands are approximately 500 and 180 sea miles from China’s coastline respectively. In contrast, the Hawaiian islands are 2,390 sea miles from California and the US by sneaks and snakes claimed the territory under shadowy circumstances.

    The US with its maritime supremacy are hoping to carve up the SCS thru the Hague arbitration in support of the Philippines at the PCA arbitral tribunal ruling. The US wants to rewrite the maritime SCS law. Its about time ASEAN and All SCS littoral states wake up that the SCS belong to Asian nations without the involvement of Outsiders.


  3. Simon says:

    Any court of arbitration over SCS must be decided by a court based in China or in the region of SE ASIA not some court based in the West under the unfluence of Western interest especially that of America who is not even a signatory of UNCLOS. China’s claim to the SCS preceede the existence of the Hague court and here it s deciding what is and what is not China which make their ruling not only illegal without China’s participation but extremely unethical. This will go down in history as another ‘unequal ruling” by a Western court that favours its allies one which China must ignore.


  4. Fre Okin says:

    “Vietnam has called for an international tribunal in The Hague to deliver a “fair and objective” ruling ..”

    VN is hinting to US and PH in particular, she is concerned about the ability of the human judges there to make unbiased verdict. Judges in this case are like jurors in US. They are supposed to be impartial but with so much publicity about this case, there is no way for them to not read what is in the news and they might be subconsciously influenced by news reporting against China since they are mostly exposed to Western news sources, reporting, opinion pieces.

    So with this in mind, any negative verdict against China can also be seen as a verdict issued by a Tainted Jury aka PCA Judges. With this reality, it is wise for VN not to demand China respect PCA ruling for any aspect that is negative to her.